The Non-Violent Way


I have talked many times about ending violence, and breaking the cycle of violence in many situations.

 

Today, I wanted to share another TED Talk, this one from Peace Activist Scilla  Elsworthy, so you can hear another voice explain the path of non-violence when fighting back.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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My Message in a Bottle


To whomever finds my message:

I have filled this bottle with Love, Peace, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude, Beauty, Forgiveness and Kindness.

I believe that when we sow the seed of these ideas with words and plant them in the soil of life and add water and sunlight, we can grow Peace.  Peace is the trunk of the Tree of Life.

If, every day, every person performed one Peaceful act, shared beauty with one other person, shared forgiveness with one who needs it, then we would have the beginnings of the Peace we need.

Everyday that you touch someone else with kindness, with compassion and peace, you make an imprint on their heart and on their soul that will gradual help them find their way to a life lived in peaceful harmony with everyone in the world.

This could erase racism, sexism, ageism, all forms of bigotry and the violence that comes from it.

There are people who are haters, and bullies.  These people need our kindness and empathy perhaps more than other people, because bullying comes from insecurity and troubled minds and the inability to know how to be kind.

Statistically, 97% of American families are dysfunctional to some degree.  But what I know and have experienced is that with self-compassion, self-understanding, self-love, everyone can learn to grow beyond what traumatized or hurt them, and continue on their way to a life filled with kindness and peace.

You may know someone who has had a very difficult life, and you can make a difference in their life by living your peace, your empathy, your forgiveness, your gratitude, and they can learn from your example and from living within the light of your being.

After a while, someone who carries darkness and hatred and negativity and violence within themselves can be changed by the daily dose of gratitude, love, acceptance, peace, empathy, and kindness that touches their heart and soul even if they don’t want it to.  These gifts are much stronger than the negativity within any soul.

Please open my bottle and spread the contents around.  You won’t be sorry.

May peace fill all of your lives.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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Bottle floating on the Ocean. Charcoal drawing by Barbara Mattio Copyright 2009

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To Heal the Whole


Let us be united,

Let us speak in harmony;

Let our minds apprehend alike.

Common be our prayer;

Common be the end of our assembly;

Common be our resolution;

Common be our deliberations.

Alike be our feelings;

Unified be our hearts,

Common be our intentions;

Perfect be our unity.   —From the Rig Veda, Hindu scripture

 

 

This is not thinking about humans being carbon copies of each other but that we all unify around love, kindness, compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. No matter what country you live in or what religion or spiritual path you follow, no matter your skin color, we are all one. Our planet is not divided. It is whole and beautiful, though damaged due to our not being good stewards. It is us who have divided, sectioned off, and formed boundaries out of human blood. For this is a big part of what war accomplishes.

 

We are in a time of great imbalance on our planet, and again we have no other planet. Mother Earth is reflecting the imbalance within ourselves. We need to heal humankind. There is no one who does not have their own inner traumas and psychological problems. We are not separate from this wonderful planet. We are totally  part of the living Earth, and we must recognize that isolated health is an illusion. Healing ourselves and working  to resolve the contradictions in the human-Earth ecology is the same work. And it is work, hope and love that will bring us to success.

 

All healing involves making whole again. For many people who have lived with violence or trauma, they feel it is just them and the rest of the world is whole and mentally healthy. I have heard this many hundreds of times from patients. This leads them to feel marginalized and not part of the mainstream. In truth, we all need healing of one sort or another. We all need each other.

 

All healing involves making ourselves and our world whole again. We need to resolve the contradictions that exist between self and other, body and spirit, mind and nature.

 

We need to relearn that we belong to the whole. We need to know that we are not encapsulated, self-enclosed entities, but we are fields of energy integrated with the environment.

 

Everything we do transforms and reshapes the world. Because our actions can destroy, they can also heal. There is no distinction between our physical lives and the work of our spirits.

 

 

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  Like it or not, we are all one beautiful, intelligent species

Mother Earth

Mother Earth 

It is One Thing to Believe in Sacrifices


It is one thing to believe in sacrifices, it is quite another to live with them. In the sixties, we didn’t get that and when guys came home from the Vietnam War, we ignored them or yelled at them. We wanted to make them feel ashamed for fighting what we perceived as an illegal war. It  was illegal, but that wasn’t the fault of the soldiers or us, the government will forever carry the responsibility. It took me and many others a long time to get it.

 

My ah-ha moment was on a date. He was a Vietnam veteran. He was the only military person I ever dated. We were watching China Beach. I always watched China Beach. He asked me if I would let him tell me about his experience in Vietnam. No, was what I wanted to say, But, something made me say Ok. Not enthusiastic, but I committed myself and I sat and listened. I will not repeat his experiences out of respect for him. Three hours, many tears and a bit of shock later I wished I didn’t know. He had never told his story before but it was his truth. It was not a pretty story, but it was reality and I suddenly realized that not supporting the veterans accomplished nothing. The government was the villain and we had missed the point.

 

I have been to the Vietnam War Memorial erected in Washington, D.C. I ran my finger tips over the thousands of names etched into the stone. There were memorials and small tokens everywhere. A mom was holding a little boy who was touching a name and she was talking, I assume, about that soldier.

 

The Iraqi war was illegal. He lied to America and took advantage of the fear that spread through America after we were attacked on 9-11. There were no weapons of mass destruction and we sent so many of our youth to fight in Iraq. One young man was close to me and he was injured. The Army couldn’t actually find him for awhile. He was in Germany and he was having his hand treated.

 

Now, I look around at the severity of injuries that our young men and women have suffered and I am sickened. Why do we always resort to violence and war? We don’t need to. We need to show compassion, acceptance, gratitude, love, kindness. War never fixes anything. It just increases the level of violence. This violence is causing severe head injuries, the loss of arms and / or legs. The loss of dreams and abilities. Severe mental issues such as PTSD and many other mental problems.

 

Wounded Warrior Project and the other groups working to assist veterans and their families are doing important work. So today is Veteran’s Day and I want to say thank you to all vets, male and female. Though I continue to wish that there would be an end to war, thank you for what you have given to America and those of us who live here. Your bravery is an amazing thing to see.

 

Someday, I hope we will no longer need these terrible sacrifices on the part of our young people, our future. One day there will not be wars. Diplomacy will reign and calm, logical and rational thinking will replace greed and power hungry people.

 

So, veterans, Thank you for your sacrifices. I am sorry you had to sacrifice all that you did.

 

 

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Flag unfurled by vets

Flag unfurled by Americans

 

Veteran's Day run held in various places around the country.

Veteran’s Day run held in various places around the country.

 

You have our support

You have our support

 

 

A Desperate World


No matter where you live on our planet, the countries are filled with hatred, selfishness, a lack of compassion and empathy. People who are marginalized in their countries are angry and want change. They lack the education or the will to use positive tools to bring justice and peace to the world. Guns, hatred, meanness, rifles, bombs, and attacking perfect strangers will not make your life better or happier.

Every person wants to make their life better.  You need to do this. You can do this. You don’t need to cause pain and suffering if that is what is in your life. Your life can be improved. Many people have done just that.

 

The desperate  state of the world calls us to action. Each of us has a responsibility to try to help at the deeper level of our common humanity. Unfortunately, humanity is too often sacrificed in defense of ideology. This is absolutely wrong.

 

Political systems should actually benefit human beings, but, like money, they can control us instead of work for us. Humankind must seek harmony among nations, ideologies, cultures, ethnic groups, and economic and political  systems.When we truly recognize the oneness of all humankind, our motivation to find peace will grow stronger.

 

In the deepest sense we are really sisters and brothers, so we must share one another’s suffering. Mutual respect, trust, and concern for one another’s welfare are our best hope for lasting world peace.

 

Of course, national leaders have a special responsibility in this area, but every individual must also take the initiative, regardless of religious belief or political affiliation. Just by being human, by seeking to gain happiness and avoid suffering, you are a citizen of this planet. We are all responsible for creating a better future.

 

To achieve a friendly attitude, a warm heart, respect for the rights of others, and concern for their welfare, you must train the mind. All forms of meditation cultivate an attitude of compassion and calm. It creates a state of mind particularly crucial in human society today for its power to yield true harmony among nations, races, and people from diverse religious, political and economic systems.  WE ARE ALL ONE!

 

 

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My neighborhood pond, Autumn.   Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

At my development.Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

What the world needs now

What the world needs now

Another way towards peace


Today, across the world, Jewish people are celebrating Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement.  It is a day when Jews all over the world fast and pray.  They repent their sins and they ask the Beloved, and each other, for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not all they pray for, however, nor do they pray for only themselves.  Jews pray for forgiveness and peace for all peoples, all of God’s children, with the understanding that all of the peoples of Earth are One People, One Family of Man, and that all deserve all the peace, love, kindness and charity that we have to give one another.

 

In my travels through the world, and my quest for understanding of the Divine, I have attained a few Yom Kippur prayers and poems, which I would like to share with you.

 

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We pray with all our hearts:  let violence be gone; let the day come soon when evil shall give way to goodness, when war shall be forgotten, hunger be no more, and all at last shall live in freedom.

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Birth is a beginning

And death a destination

And life is a journey:

From childhood to maturity

And youth to age:

From innocence to awareness

And ignorance to knowing:

From foolishness to discretion

And the, perhaps, to wisdom

From weakness to strength

Or strength to weakness –

And, often, back again;

From health to sickness

And back, we pray, to health again;

From offense to forgiveness,

From loneliness to love,

From joy to gratitude,

From pain to compassion,

And grief to understanding –

From fear to faith;

From defeat to defeat to defeat –

Until, looking backward or ahead,

We see that victory lies

Not at some high place along the way,

But in having made the journey, stage by stage,

A sacred pilgrimage.

Birth is a beginning

And death a destination.

And life is a journey,

A sacred pilgrimage

To live everlasting.

May Every Heart Beat with Peace like the Beating of the WIngs of a BIrd.   Photograph and Copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

May Every Heart Beat with Peace like the Beating of the WIngs of a BIrd. Photograph and Copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

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The Importance of Hope in Today’s World


 

In Wales, Nato is meeting to address the dual problems of ISIL and Russia. It is also a time of increased racism here in the United States. The world is tense, you can feel it as you go about your regular life. I want to encourage you to remember that peace starts within us. Hope and peace live within and is touched by the Divinity within. Our hearts and souls are very important in our lives. We just are not really aware of them.

 

Our hearts have been attacked more than once in the last few months. Mother Earth is screaming in pain. 16 million children live in poverty in America, we really have no idea of how many people in Iraq and Syria have been killed and or displaced. Now ISIL members are discussing moving into India. That country is filled with a billion people. They have just been served notice that the darkness is now planning moves to disrupt their country and families.

 

What can one person do? One person in France, Belgium, India or America can do a lot. We can keep giving love, peace, hope, compassion and empathy flowing out from our hearts and souls into this world. We must believe that, in the big picture, that good will conquer the hatred and bigotry that we are up against. Our spirituality can be the engine that pulls us ahead and keeps us focused on what can be done rather than what can not be done. We may suffer, I may suffer but if we lose our lives, we will return home to the Divine presence of God.

 

“At night make me one with the darkness, in the morning make me one with the light. ”   —Wendell Berry

 

“Just to be is a blessing, Just to live is holy.”   —Rabbi Abraham Heschel

 

” As we are together, praying for peace, let us be truly with each other.

Let us pay attention to our breathing.

Let us be relaxed in our bodies and our minds.

Let us be at peace with  our bodies and our minds.

Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves. Let us maintain a half-smile on our faces.

Let us be aware of the source of being common to us all and to all living things.

Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion, towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all brothers and sisters. all nourished from the same source of life.

Let us pray with ourselves to live in a way which will not deprive other beings of air, water, food, shelter, or the chance to live.

With humility, and with awareness of the existence of life, and of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us pray for the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth. Amen.   —Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

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Truth

 

The face of truth is open,

The eyes of truth are bright,

The lips of truth are ever closed,

The head of truth is upright.

The breast of truth stands forward,

The gaze of truth is straight,

Truth has neither fear nor doubt,

Truth has patience to wait.

The words of truth are touching,

The voice of truth is deep,

The law of truth is simple:

All that you sow you reap.

The soul of truth is flaming,

The heart of truth is warm,

The mind of truth is clear,

And firm through rain or storm.

Facts are but its shadows,

Truth stands above all sin;

Great be the battle in life,

Truth in the end shall win.

Wisdom”s message its rod;

Sign of truth is the cross,

Soul of truth is God.

Life of truth is eternal,

Immortal is its past,

Power of truth will endure,

Truth shall hold to the last.   —Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

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Cup and Ocean

 

“These forms we seem to be are cups floating in an ocean of living consciousness.

They fill and sink without leaving an arc of bubbles or any good bye spray.

What we are is that ocean, too near to see, though we swim in it and drink it in.

Don’t be a cup with a dry rim, or someone who rides all night and never knows the horse

beneath this thighs, the surging that carries him along.”   —Rumi

 

 

 

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